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Updated on January 26, 2015

Continuance (a poem by Trevor Maynard)

Shattered by the event

The father of the drowned child took

A pickaxe and smashed it against the car window

But it was not the vehicle that had lost concentration

That was just an object, a tool, an extension of his drunken arms and legs

Pearl white were the flowers

Holding tight in the scattering of their pads

As the father leapt into the pond and dived down

As big a breath held as possible and yet not enough

His eyes bulged and stung and saw nothing in the murk as weeds grabbed

An owl intoned, deep of throat

An echoing, hollow wood call breaking the silence

Until the man burst desperate for oxygen out of the water

Tearing a lung full of frosting quiet below the blanketing cloud

His heart beat with pain and guilt, piercing his veins with adrenalin

Insects rose towards the streetlight; moths, midges

And mosquitos, a chorus drawn to a promise of they knew not what

Below, the pressure of water equalized and the window would not break

Each snowflake, said to be unique

Formed above as the temperature of the air held

The mother waited, smiling, dallying in her thoughts

Some little memory tapping; the way her child tucked his chin

To his chest, glancing up with green eyes the hue of Christmas holly

Shattered by the event, the father took one more breath

And swam down to the silted bed of the pond, but there was

No more water, it was not that night; the winter had turned inward

The mother of the child felt guilty

Every time she smiled, or laughed, or showed any sign

That life was allowed to carry on since the shattering event

Alone now, as the father, selfish in so many ways, took to the luxury

Of Catatonia, his every need catered for; she closed her eyes and took a breath

A mother walking in moonlight

Footfall padding the down the snow; the hush

Broken only by a hollow wood call of the owl swooping past

Moth, midge and mosquito drew around her as Greek Gods would

She knew not why, maybe a sense of release, the last month was always the longest

Continuance; this would be her path

A new life would soon swim to the surface

Break free into the world, breath in life in all its vitality

How could this be done, how would she manage the years

One glance at a time, every memory precious to every single day


Stones balanced on other stones, cairns, symbolizing something, maybe, a kind of nod to permanence, they are solid, they always will be, but also symbolizing transience, for today they stacked one on the other, tomorrow, maybe some other will move them, maybe the wind, maybe the sea, maybe they will remain like this for thousands of years. Do such actions have meaning? Human life is both frail and strong, a few drinks and a man crashes his car, killing his child, but he does not die. He continues. His penance, if this is a term with which you are comfortable, is to remain balanced on the edge of despair, for an unknown amount of time. Others suffer through his action; his wife, mother of their child, but where he seeks to remain static until the end of time, she cannot - there are further lives to build, further paths to follow, a cairn should indicate something, lead somewhere, should it not? Otherwise it just a rock on another rock.


Sometimes lives fall apart, whether it be through deliberate action, accident or poor choices, and indeed, in some cases, through inaction. These wrecked lives do not just stop, even if the subject of a tragedy removes themselves from the scene - their life, their action, affects others. The wreckage may endure for years, only nature may heal, but in memory, even when the barriers have come down, even when the war is over, there is still knowing that cannot be unknown. Time may allowance forgiveness and acceptance, but history records events, it does not allow events to be forgotten, and consequence ripple out without end.

Drunk Driving

We hear a lot about people killed and injured by drunk divers, and we read about people put in prison, or those that "get away with murder" - but this is reportage, moral outrage by proxy, what of the actual consequences, what happens after the tragedy, what of the people involved? Life continues, even after the most terrible, and catastrophic of events. CONTINUANCE is a poem that seeks to capture the human condition.


One death is a tragedy, one million a statistic, someone (not generally a person regarded as a good man) once said; but my view is different. As human beings we can only emotional experience tragedy on a personal scale, anything beyond family and friends, anything of society, of humanity, we can only process, and experience intellectually. However, what we can do, through imagination, is to bring experiences outside of ourselves, to the personal, and this is where poetry, writing, and all art allows us to empathize, to be part of the pain and the joy, and to be human. For example, 280 people died in drunk driving car crashes in UK, in 201e; 0,076 people died in drunk driving accidents in the US in 2012, and if we assume one death connects 150 people (a sustainable human grouping), this means over 150,000 lives were personally touched. Many more, of course, died world-wide, but the point is, every death ripples emotional through the human consciousness, we are all connected in the end. The newspapers cover some of these "domestic tragedies", they report on the increases in fatalities, they explore "human interest" but they soon become old news, discarded on the river bank. Life continues on.

Further information

Trevor Maynard is a poet, playwright and editor; his latest collection of poems KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON is available in paperback from Amazon and elsewhere, and the four anthologies he has edited, THE POETIC BOND I - IV, are also in paperback on Amazon.


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